State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Wind, cold to continue

JUNEAU - A large high-pressure system in northwest Canada is pushing cold air into the Juneau area, causing the current cold, windy weather.

Forecaster Aaron Jacobs of the National Weather Service said freezing temperatures with winds gusting to 30 to 50 mph could continue for a few days. Snow is a possibility for the weekend, but it's too soon to tell, he said. A high-wind watch is in effect through Wednesday night.

"A watch means conditions are favorable for the development of a serious threat to life and property," according to the forecast. "People are encouraged to closely monitor this weather situation."

Wind chills could go below zero, although the effect will be less with gusts than with ongoing winds, Jacobs said. The forecast calls for winds up to 60 mph in some areas.

City bond sale Saturday

JUNEAU - The city's Finance Department will sell $1 million in general obligation bonds on Saturday.

The so-called "mini-bonds" are part of a $15 million bond package approved by voters in October for harbor and utility projects in Juneau. The bonds range in maturity from one to 20 years with a minimum size of $1,000, according to the city.

Preliminary interest rates will be published in the Juneau Empire on Friday; final interest rates will be posted the day of the sale. The interest is tax-exempt, with some limited exceptions.

It is the fourth time the city has sold bonds over the counter. Previous sales were offered in 1996, 1997 and 2000. The sale is at 9 a.m. Saturday in Assembly chambers at City Hall downtown.

More information is available from the city's Treasury Office or on the city's Web site at under "news items."

Panel to discuss Herbert River land

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly's Lands Committee will meet Thursday to discuss the acquisition of 148 acres of property near Herbert River and the Boy Scout Camp.

The Southeast Alaska Land Trust has received a $553,000 federal grant to obtain the private parcel, owned by William "Shorty" Tonsgard of Juneau. The city would contribute another $250,000, and SEAL Trust would put a conservation easement in place to protect the parcel's wetlands.

City Lands Manager Steve Gilbertson has suggested the city's contribution come from a fund established to acquire waterfront land with cruise ship passenger fees. The money would be repaid with revenue from city land sales, he said.

At a meeting last week, Assembly member Dale Anderson noted "tremendous support" in the community for the purchase. He said he wanted to move ahead, but with assistance from local groups to put more city land into private hands.

Lands Committee Chairman Randy Wanamaker said Thursday's work session will include a discussion about funding and how to put more city lands into "taxpaying status."

"We're trying to get ideas and support to identify alternative funding sources so the cost doesn't all have to come from the city," he said. "The other part is we have an approved land-disposal policy and we'd like to get their support for that."

The meeting is at noon Thursday in room 224 at City Hall downtown.

SERRC closed for three days

JUNEAU - The South East Regional Resource Center Adult Education Center in Juneau will be closed today, Wednesday, and Thursday. No classes will be offered on those dates. The center will re-open on Friday. For information call 586-5718.

Kenai borough teleconference office opens

KENAI - Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley has established a legislative teleconference office at the borough building in Soldotna.

Borough and school district officials will use the office to testify before legislative committees. Bagley said it will save money and time, especially later in the legislative session.

"The school district figured they'd testify eight to 12 times a week," he said. "For us (the borough), it's about four to six times a week."

Testifying now often requires officials to drive a half-hour to the state Legislative Information Office in Kenai.

There are no plans to open the teleconference office to the general public.

Fred Meyer eyes Ketchikan lot

KETCHIKAN - Fred Meyer is considering purchasing about nine acres for a large grocery store near 4 Mile North Tongass Highway in Ketchikan.

"We have entered into an agreement that enables us to control the lot while we look at it," said Rob Boley, Fred Meyer assistant vice president for public relations. "But it's way too early to tell if we'll ever come to Ketchikan."

The company will take whatever time is necessary to analyze the market in Ketchikan before making a decision, Boley said.

If the company comes to Ketchikan, it will build a 60,000- to 100,000-square-foot Fred Meyer Marketplace store, he said.

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